This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to the Christian Post, As COVID-19 cases are rising in nearly every state in the U.S., the Christian disaster relief organization Samaritan’s Purse has announced the opening of two emergency field hospitals — one in North Carolina and the other in California — to care for people suffering from the disease. Samaritan’s Purse has opened an Emergency Field Hospital in Lenoir, North Carolina, and is preparing to open one in Lancaster, California, as “a steady influx of patients” is expected to arrive “over the next several days,” the group, led by evangelist Franklin Graham, said. In Lenoir, the evangelical humanitarian group’s medical team has started treating patients from surrounding communities, the organization stated, adding that the hospital is helping five regional healthcare systems respond to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Graham said, “These hospitals have come to us for help because they are full, and case numbers continue to rise. This is our home state, and we appreciate the frontline workers battling COVID day in and day out. We are glad that we can be there to help lift the load. Our medical team is going to help provide professional, compassionate, and quality care to every patient who is sent to us.”
According to Magnolia State Live, An 18-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of an Alabama pastor. Choctaw County Sheriff Scott Lolley told local news sources that Melissa Hill turned herself in, and is being charged with both murder and attempted murder in connection with the murder of Pastor Tim Pearson in Melvin, Alabama. Melvin is a small rural community in West Alabama one mile from the Alabama-Mississippi line. Hill’s bond has been set at $1,050,000. According to news reports Pearson was shot and killed early Saturday morning. Pearson led the Mt. Mariah Baptist Church in Melvin for 14 years. One of Pearson’s relatives said that Pearson’s wife was also injured in the shooting, but she is now in stable condition.
According to NBC News, The FBI has sent a memo to law enforcement agencies across the country warning about possible armed protests at all 50 state capitols starting Saturday and saying an armed group has threatened to travel to Washington, D.C., the same day to stage an uprising if Congress removes President Donald Trump from office, according to a senior law enforcement official. The memo includes information provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Defense Department; U.S. Park Police; and the U.S. Marshals Service, among other agencies, according to the official. Some of the information came from social media, some from open sources and some from other sources of information. The senior law enforcement official said the FBI’s National Crisis Coordination Center distributed the update as a summary of threat information it has received after the deadly mob attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.
According to the New York Post, Yet another set of high-profile pastors have quietly left scandal–ridden Hillsong Church and wiped their social-media profiles of photos during their time there, indicating a mass exodus at the once-popular megachurch. Desiree Noel Robertson and Blaze C. Robertson were the former lead pastors of the Australia-based church’s Connecticut branch, which they moved to Old Greenwich to help found in 2016, and served at until recently. No formal announcement was made of their departure, but they appear to now be seeking employment at nearby Harvest Time Church, in Greenwich. In a Jan. 2 Instagram post, Harvest Time explicitly avoided any mention of Hillsong while inviting congregants to come meet the couple, who are being considered for the church’s “Executive Pastor” position. Both the Robertsons’ Instagram accounts have allegedly been scrubbed of all Hillsong content, an insider told The Post, and now together contain just eight posts, all shots of the family, prayers and one picture of Harvest Time.
According to ESPN, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday he will not “move forward” with the Presidential Medal of Freedom that Donald Trump planned to present to him on Thursday. Belichick explained his decision in a statement: “Recently I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award. Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team. One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020 when, through the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality and human rights moved to the forefront and became actions. Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”
According to ESPN, DeVonta Smith was uncoverable, Najee Harris unstoppable and Mac Jones impeccable. With a performance that was both surgical and explosive, No. 1 Alabama won the College Football Playoff national championship game 52-24 against No. 3 Ohio State on Monday night. The final game of a college football season in a pandemic, a season that was uncertain to be played in the summer and filled with disruptions in the fall, ended in the most predictable fashion: Alabama as national champion for the sixth time in the last 12 years under coach Nick Saban. For Saban, it was career title No. 7 overall, breaking a tie with Alabama great Paul “Bear” Bryant for the most by a major college coach. “To me this is the ultimate team,” Saban said. “There is more togetherness on this team than on almost any team we’ve ever had. They’ve had to overcome and to persevere so much through this season, and they have done it magnificently.” The celebration was at once familiar and unique. The confetti cannons sent a crimson and white shower into the air and the Tide players ran to the sideline to grab their championship hats and T-shirts. It’s a rite of passage if you have played for Saban. But this time, the band playing the fight song was a piped in recording and when “Sweet Home Alabama” blared, only a few thousand Tide fans were still in the building to singalong.
According to TODAY, Carrie Underwood has no plans to slow down when it comes to new music. In a Twitter video, the “Inside Your Heaven” singer revealed she is working on a gospel album titled “My Savior.” Described as a “companion” to her first Christmas album, “My Gift,” the new project will feature covers of gospel hymns she sang during her childhood. Underwood explained, “When I was making this music, I felt like my soul was in such a great place, I wanted to keep making music like the music off of ‘My Gift.'” The new project comes in response to fans’ requests over the years for a gospel album. “My Savior” will arrive “just in time for Easter.” Underwood added, “It’s just been such a blessing to make music like this, music that is near and dear to my heart. I hope you guys enjoy listening to it as much as I loved making it.”
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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!